One Sound Studios on S. Parkway - $5 gives Memphians to access a dark room with pizza, colorful visuals projected on a white wall and the sounds of the underground Memphis hip-hop scene.
That is, until technical difficulties stop a group of emcees in their tracks.
“A lot of songs we performed for the first time, and it was great,” performer Krucial said. “Other than the computer bullshitting, it was cool.”
The “computer bullshitting” and the entire backing track cutting out during the openers’ set made for an interesting start of the Qemistry/Spekulate Lab show on Nov. 4. The event celebrated both the release of Qemist’s new EP as well as Spekulate the Philosopher’s debut album “Come With Me.” Luckily, rapper Jayy the Pro was true to his name and spit an entire verse a capella once the music suddenly stopped.
“It actually came out of nowhere,” Jayy said. “It was like one of those downfalls when you just want to recover like you got to win it back and I did it. I bounced back … for the sake of Dojo Fam and Higher Class you know?”
“Higher Class x Don’t Pass” is a Bluff City-based hip-hop duo composed of Jayy the Pro and fellow artist “+hank Aaron,” pronounced “thank Aaron.” According to the group’s SoundCloud page, the two have been making music together since “the age of cassette tapes and Walkmans.”
Their newest single, “Locked In” has reached around 630 listens in around 18 days. An older track, “Pigeons,” has reached 980 listens and was released two years ago. “Dojo Bando,” a song produced by XIV and released by Hippy SOUL features the Higher Class duo and has reached 4,887 plays in 10 months.
“We’ve been doing it for a while,” +hank Aaron said. “Long enough to make a strong bond off of it to where we’re actually out here doing shows and connecting with different people.”
The group even embarked on a “mini-tour” with a few of their show mates earlier in 2016 visiting New York and Missouri as well as returning to their hometown, Memphis.
“It was actually straight – it was our first tour,” +hank Aaron said. “Putting our own money from our own funds together and just making some s--- out of it.”
The full lineup of the November Qemistry/Spekulate Lab show included Bored Lord, minivan_markus, Higher Class, Krucial, Spekulate the Philosopher, and Qemist. Spekulate’s set featured appearances by singer Sandie Soulette, rapper Trees, and the lively group T.A.N. who performed the comedic rap single “Butter Biscuits” and ended the set on a high note.
“It’s awesome, y’know; it’s different,” Jayy the Pro said about Spekulate the Philosopher’s music. “It’s different. He brings a lot from that aspect ….this aspect. He takes from a lot of genres, pop, R&B, hip-hop, and just puts it into one. Plus EDM with the glitches … it’s crazy.”